UM School of Law Introduces Living-Learning Community

UM freshmen (front row, from left) Cassidy Grace Porter, Abigail Avery, Katharine Papp, Carley Sheppard and Nicholas DiConsiglio and (back row) Carson Whitney, Dorrian Reagan, Joseph Shelley, Faith Chatten and Virgil ‘Trey’ Ledbetter are participating in the inaugural School of Law Living Learning Community. Photo by Macey Edmondson

Ten freshmen at the University of Mississippi will begin their legal education early through the School of Law Living-Learning Community.

This is the inaugural year of the program, which will take these young students interested in attending law school after graduation and introduce them to the law.

The program will provide opportunities for students to learn about the law and legal education; offer guidance on applying to law school; introduce undergraduates to law students who will serve as mentors throughout their freshman year, and educate students on professionalism and what it takes to be a successful lawyer.

“These students are already interested in law school as high school seniors, and they’re real go-getters,” said Macey Edmondson, assistant dean for student affairs at the law school. “Through the LLC, they will be part of a tight-knit community, and we’re excited to provide them with resources to enhance their future careers.”

This is a relatively new practice among law schools, she said.

Participating students are Abigail Avery, public policy and leadership and psychology major from Lake St. Louis, Missouri; Faith Chatten, business and art, Erie, Colorado; Nicholas DiConsiglio, political science, Clearwater, Florida; Trey Ledbetter, political science, Iuka; Katharine Papp, history, Austin, Texas; Cassidy Grace Porter, paralegal studies, Bakersfield, California; Dorrian Regan, economics, Tucker, Georgia; Joseph Shelley, political science, Flanders, New Jersey; Carley Sheppard, paralegal studies, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Carson Whitney, business, Edwardsville, Illinois.

Edmondson has coordinated programming for the students throughout the year, including a social event with law Dean Susan Duncan, guest speakers including judges and attorneys, and a field trip to Jackson to gain a better understanding of the legal system and how it works.

“We hope the experience of immersing yourself in the legal field will only strengthen the interest of a legal education for these students,” Duncan said. “Our faculty and students at the Ole Miss law school will work closely with these freshmen to introduce them to the law and foster their educational success.”

The School of Law LLC is one of four offered to Ole Miss students. Other LLCs include the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, School of Pharmacy and FASTrack.

The new program became a deciding factor for some students to attend UM.

Chatten researched colleges and universities for months to find one that offered something unique for undergraduate students who wanted to become attorneys.

“My search had been unsuccessful until one day, I was looking at Ole Miss housing and saw that there was a School of Law Living-Learning Community,” she said. “It was the exact thing that I had been searching for all along in the college process, and I felt extremely grateful to be accepted.”

Her interest in law began in high school through a U.S. government and politics course.

“I took the class looking to fulfill a required high school credit, not knowing that I would grow to love it so much that it would end up being my favorite class that I have ever taken,” she said. “I considered myself pretty studious in high school, but I had never read a textbook cover to cover until this class.”

Chatten’s interest in becoming an attorney was solidified when she participated in the Law and Advocacy National Student Leadership Conference at Yale University the following summer. She participated in a mock trial at the conference, which prompted her to search for undergraduate programs related to law interests and become part of the LLC.

“I wanted to build a community of people around me with the same aspirations who will be going through the same things as me, like caring about good grades because law school is on the line and studying for the LSAT,” she said. “I was also so excited to see that the LLC pairs students up with law school mentors, which will be so impactful to have someone giving me advice since they were once in my position.”

Members of the LLC live among peers who are also interested in pursuing law school after graduation.

“We’re excited to offer the School of Law Living-Learning Community for the 2018-19 academic year,” said Jennifer McClure, student housing assistant director for marketing. “Living-learning communities enhance students’ residential experiences by connecting activities and events in their homes on campus to their academic lives.”

Faculty members and students from the law school will serve as community leaders and resources for these students.

“Through these partnerships with faculty, the Department of Student Housing supports student success by promoting engaged scholarship and responsible citizenship,” McClure said.

For more information, visit https://studenthousing.olemiss.edu/.


By Christina Steube

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